My husband and I used to be drinking buddies. When we first started going out we spent a lot of time getting drunk together. It was fun. Silly. We loved food and beer and cocktails and bottles of wine with Sunday brunch. We boozed it up.
Then I got pregnant.
It wasn’t a surprise, more of a drunken idea born of us being thirty two and destined to be together forever.
So we got married.
We never really got to know each other. There were never long Saturdays spent curled up together in bed talking about our deepest secrets. We didn’t live life, we drank it. He got to know how, after too many drinks, I liked to put on headphones and sing Coldplay out loud. I got to know that when he got drunk he would start clearing his throat a lot. But we never boiled it down to the nitty gritty knowing that makes two people be on the same side without malice and anger. We never made it past the point of competition. We never surrendered one to the other in trust and love.
And nothing makes that more clear than sobriety. Lemme tell you. Nothing.
How do you go back and fix a ten year relationship? There are so many hurts, some big, some really big. Some the same old nags over forgotten laundry or the way you load a dishwasher. How can you say “I’m sorry” for ten years of things and be forgiven?
This is what I’m trying to figure out these days. Because, after it all, there is one simple truth: I want him. He’s my person. We have these moments where we get each other, where we know. When he stops playing the role of right and winning and I stop trying to fix him.
Something dawned on me the other day while we were arguing. We don’t take care of each other. We used to take care of each other by drinking together. It made us sit and spend time together. We would sit on the porch for hours swilling wine and smoking cigarettes- playing cards or just talking. Now we never see each other. Drinking bonded us, it gave us a reason to be together. Without it we both seem to be at loose ends. Without it it feels like we’ve lost our great uniter. I wonder if he misses drinking me. I wonder if he feels like he knows me as this sober me.
My husband could be an alcoholic, except he’s not. He’s one of those people who just leaves half a beer and walks away. Who can have one of anything and then not have to have seven more. It was usually me that spurred us on, me that had to have just one more glass, me that wanted shots of tequila with our summertime beers.
As I have been learning to know the stranger who is me I have forgotten that the person I live with needs an introduction to her, not to be mistaken for an intruder or a mindreader. We share a history, but we don’t really know how our own stories go.
The one thing that has suffered because of my sobriety is my marriage. Now that I have a good chunk of sober time under my belt I think it’s time I went out and met a man. And that man is my husband.